Before you submit an offer and hand the deposit over to your new home, make sure you have a pre-purchase inspection carried out. This will provide you with a detailed report on the state of the house and uncover any defects that may have been missed at viewings. It doesn’t matter how old or new the house is, there is always the potential there could be issues. Pre-purchase inspections are particularly important since the leaky homes crisis that swept the country in the mid-2000s.
In order to get an accurate representation of the condition of the house, it’s important you get a report from a reputable and qualified party. Since the tightening of building regulations and standards, there has been a huge increase in the number of inspection companies. Because of this, it’s important that you choose a certified company that will provide a highly detailed report that outlines the good and bad of a property.
To save you the despair of choosing the wrong company, below are several key considerations.
Who should I get to conduct it?
In the past, many of us would have got our tradie mate to carry out a brief ‘once-over’ before making an offer. However, as the regulations around building compliance have tightened over the past several years, it has become increasingly important to get a detailed report from a qualified and certified inspector. As a result, there are a couple of factors you should look for:
Firstly, make sure that you check their qualifications, experience and whether they are associated with a trusted industry body. Many inspectors were builders or involved in the industry before becoming inspectors. Although this does give them a solid foundation and expert knowledge of how to build a house, it doesn’t guarantee they are completely qualified to inspect it. Thus, insisting that your inspector possesses up-to-date qualifications is key.
A good way of ensuring they are fully qualified is by choosing companies that are members of bodies such as the New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors or Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
Secondly, ensure that your inspector has comprehensive indemnity insurance. Essentially, this is your safety net in case their inspection or advice was incorrect. Imagine if you purchase a property on the basis your inspector claims the house is sound, only to discover the foundations are one strong gale away from collapsing. An inspector’s indemnity insurance will mean they are covered in the event that they have overseen an issue that has resulted in extensive damage.
As you’re shopping around to find the best value for money, don’t be afraid to ask companies what credentials they possess and whether they are covered.
How detailed should it be?
The report you receive from the inspector should be extremely detailed and include every aspect of the property. A full and comprehensive report should outline much more than it’s weathertightness and moisture levels. It should include everything from the most obvious structural faults to the smallest crack in the roof.
As this report will play a drastic role in your decision-making process, insist that the report is as thorough and detailed as possible. This is all the more reason to ensure that the inspector you choose has the relevant certification and insurance.
Make sure you understand the results
How many of us know how to diagnose an issue with the foundations or understand the inner-workings of the plumbing system? Unless you’re in the industry, probably very few.
Because of this, it’s important you are able to discuss and understand the report with your inspector. A good building inspector should take the time to go over the report and verbalise any concerns they may have.
As the inspector is producing the report on your behalf, they should be able to provide an unbiased, objective conclusion on whether the property is in a state to be purchased or not.
Getting an accurate and thorough building inspection performed is a worthwhile investment if you’re serious about buying a property. It will not only give you a better understanding of any issues that the house may have but it will also act as a solid negotiating tool if there are issues with the house (potentially lowering the price).
If you’re unsure about what to look for in potential building inspector or need any advice regarding purchasing your first-home, contact us today and we’ll be more than happy to help you through the process.
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